According to local media on the Isle of Man, Coroner of Inquests Jayne Hughes confirmed today that he has gathered “sufficient evidence to ascertain” that sidecar crew Cesar Chanal and Olivier Lavorel were wearing each other’s identification tags when they had their crash at Ago’s Leap during the opening race of the 2022 Isle of Man TT.
The incident, which left one of them dead and the other critically ill, initially led to the TT organisers announcing that it was passenger Lavorel who had been killed and that Chanal was still alive in hospital. However, they were forced to correct that information later in the week, when it eventually emerged that it was in fact Lavorel who had survived.
“Today Mrs Hughes revealed that statements from doctors and police officers confirmed that the two riders had each other’s dog tags on,” reported local news website IOM Today, “however she is not yet able to determine why this was the case.
“In adjourning Mr Chanal’s inquest, Mrs Hughes extended her condolences to his friends and family and also expressed her sympathies to the family of Mr Lavorel for the emotional anguish they have suffered.”
Riders at the Isle of Man TT, as in many other classes, are required to wear either metal military-style dog tags on a chain around their neck or have a patch inside their leathers with the same information. The rules mandate key information such as name, next of kin, blood type and key medical information such as allergies.
It’s believed that for 2023 organisers will move to immediately amend the rule to require the use of both dog tags and internal patches, in an attempt to prevent a repeat of the tragic circumstances surrounding the incident.
The coroners’ hearing comes only days after TT bosses pledged to complete a full root-and-branch review of this year’s four fatal incidents and the procedures followed during them as part of their ongoing mission to make the historic race as safe as possible.
“After every incident we work tirelessly to understand the circumstances, establish key learning and implement changes as soon as possible,” said clerk of course Gary Thompson in a statement released by the TT.
“Any fatality during an event is a tragedy. As an organisation we promise to take any actions that can help improve safety and undertake this at the earliest opportunity.”
There have been no updates on Lavorel’s status since he was admitted to hospital in critical condition.